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Ask Me Community Ambassador Scheme

[Republished from www.cambridgewa.org.uk]

People within a survivor’s community are often the first to know that domestic abuse is happening. But lack of understanding and confidence can make people afraid to talk about it, and unsure of how to respond when someone speaks out. Survivors have told us they can feel judged, silenced or isolated by the people around them.

We are changing that through the Change That Lasts Ask Me scheme, developed in partnership between Women’s Aid Federation England and Welsh Women’s Aid.

The project is a simple initiative that equips community members in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with an understanding of domestic abuse and how to respond to survivors. This knowledge will enable the community to play an active role in ending domestic abuse.

Being a Change That Lasts Community Ambassador

We offer free 12 hour training courses to members of the local community from all backgrounds and identities where they learn about domestic abuse, including its gendered nature, how to challenge the stereotypes surrounding it and how to listen to, believe and direct survivors to specialist support.

Anyone with a connection to Cambridgeshire and/or Peterborough can become an Ask Me ambassador, whether you have been personally affected by domestic abuse or whether you would like to learn more.

After the training, ambassadors are given resources and support to share what they have learned with those around them in ways that feel most comfortable to them. They are encouraged to start conversations about domestic abuse that will help others to better understand the barriers that survivors face in speaking out. An ambassador can commit as much or as little time as they can give.

We keep in touch with Community Ambassadors with new opportunities and events such as ambassador meet-ups, campaign involvement and volunteering. We also send short surveys to find out how they are getting on and how we can support them further.

A Community Ambassador…

… believes in equality of all people, regardless of their gender identity, age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, cultural beliefs or circumstances.

… listens and believes others that share their personal experiences of domestic abuse.

… is non-judgmental and respectful.

… is passionate about ending domestic abuse.

There is a chance that we may decide that it isn’t appropriate for a person to take on the role if they don’t share these values and qualities. We will work with people to overcome any barriers wherever possible, or we will direct you to a more suitable volunteering or training opportunity.

Interested? Join the Scheme

If you would like to take part, please register your interest through the online form here: REGISTER INTEREST FORM

People Powered: Follow-up information

Links, contacts and further reading for the People Powered conference, 19 April 2018

The People Powered conference was co-hosted by Living Sport and Hunts Forum, and funded by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Training

Click here for the upcoming training workshops hosted by Support Cambridgeshire and its partner organisations, Hunts Forum and Cambridge CVS. Most training is free for Hunts Forum and CCVS members. See CCVS’s full programme of training for volunteer managers here, and further resources here.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

Our keynote speaker was Shaun Delaney, Volunteering Development Manager at NCVO. They champion the voluntary sector by connecting, representing and supporting voluntary organisations, and work to help voluntary organisations and volunteers make the biggest difference they can. Find out more here.

Read the NCVO Getting Involved 2017 report here. This includes lots of fascinating statistics on who, where, why and how people volunteer in the UK.

Recruiting volunteers

This workshop was led by Keith Smith, Founder & Director of Ferry Project.

The Do-it website connects volunteers with volunteering opportunities, based on location, availability and activity type.

Read NCVO’s guide to recruiting volunteers here.

Supporting volunteers

This workshop was led by Mark Strivens, Director, Street Pastors Cambridge.

Read the Charity Commission’s advice on managing risks here.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s guidance on adult safeguarding is here, with a straightforward introduction here.

Model policies for volunteering (including recruitment, volunteer agreement and complaints policies) are available here.

NCVO’s guide to managing and retaining volunteers is here and includes a section on dealing with problems or issues with volunteers.

Rewarding volunteers

This workshop was led by Susie Willis, Chief Executive Officer, Care Network.

See the flip-chart notes from the conference here.

NCVO’s guide to managing and retaining volunteers is here and includes a section on recognition and reward.

Find out about Cambridgeshire’s Spice Credits volunteer reward scheme.

Find out more about Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) here.

Micro-volunteering

This workshop was led by Lucy Bird, Somersham and Pidley Time Bank Coordinator.

Read Support Cambridgeshire’s introduction to Time Banks here.

Read NCVO’s guide to micro-volunteering here.

Living Sport

Our final speaker was Rebecca Evans, Relationship Manager at Living Sport.

Here’s what people are saying about People Powered:

It reinforced the importance of keeping in contact with our wonderful volunteers. Brilliant workshops with lots of ideas to use.

Good crowd, and an excellent keynote speaker. 

Excellent insight provided into how to recruit volunteers.

We had an enjoyable & interesting day. No matter how much one has learnt over the years, there is always more to learn!